Against a major rival, Real Salt Lake made the playoffs in dramatic fashion to secure that final spot in the west. The Seattle Sounders limped into the playoffs without a win in their last six games. The Sounders had dealt with a number of injuries to key players, but now only Bruin, Delem, and Nouhou are listed as out. Real travel to Seattle and will take on a Sounders side who have the players to improve their results. If RSL can’t calm a victory, their offseason starts tonight.
Real Salt Lake’s formation has been perhaps the biggest talking point around the team since Pablo Mastroeni took over as interim head coach. The 3-5-2 provides some excitement, but largely has leaked goals. The team’s move back to the 4-2-3-1 allowed more defensive structure that kept them in the game against Sporting Kansas City, where they eventually shifted the formation and won. It’s a good strategy to start with defense in mind, but move into the more aggressive formation if you don’t have a lead.
Damir Kreilach has scored a massive 16 goals for Real Salt Lake this season. His role as a forward who is allowed to float around freed him to become RSL’s leading goal scorer this season. After scoring RSL’s winner at the death against SKC, the team will need him to keep up his scoring way if they want to advance.
A healthy Marcelo
Marcelo Silva returned in RSL’s last game and looked good. He didn’t stray too far forward and didn’t have any major mistakes (after all, Justen was the one with the handball). There was concern that he wouldn’t be 90 minutes fit in that game, but he looked good. Now his recovery is well behind him, what does a fitter and fully healthy Silva bring to the team?
Out: Zack Farnsworth